Prince George’s County Devoloping Plan to Combat Countywide Health Concerns

Prince George’s County officials are developing a 3-year plan to combat chronic health issues plaguing county residents, including heart disease, sexually transmitted infections, obesity and improving access to health care.  The Gazette reports,

The three-year timeline was set, in part, to allow officials to assess how progress on health initiatives in the county relates to national health care reform efforts. The plan also is intended to align with similar goals outlined by the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene earlier this month.

General priorities of the plan include improving access to health care, preventing and controlling chronic and infectious diseases, and expanding access to reproductive and post-natal care.

Obesity is among the problems the plan hopes to address, Fran Preneta, a county health department consultant, told the council Tuesday. Requiring restaurants to provide nutritional information for items on their menus and offering incentives such as tax credits to supermarkets that lower prices on healthy foods are tactics the county could adopt, Preneta said.

“We want to increase public demand for healthier foods,” Preneta said.

Increasing enrollment in Medicaid and the Maryland Children’s Health Program — government programs that provide health insurance to low-income residents — through increased awareness and faster application processing also is a part of the plan.

The plan will be unveiled at HealthCheck 2011, a free forum on state and local health policy, on October 1 at National Harbor.

For more information on the health concerns facing Prince George’s County, click here.

For information on HealthCheck and to sign up to attend the event on October 1, click here.

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